Make those living spaces even bigger... Developers have to make quick changes in what they have to offer. Tried and tested formulas may not work any longer. Image Credit: Shutterstock

As businesses and countries focus on economic resurgence in their respective regions, adding value - predominantly through innovation - is the key not only in contributing to the betterment of the world, but also to the growth of dynamic businesses. With its ability to keep up with trends and always stay relevant, the UAE is a dream destination for many.

Dubai is pinned as an oasis of stability, which represents the pillar for industries such as real estate, tourism and manufacturing. The interconnectedness of security and economic growth have elevated Dubai to its current status as a cosmopolitan destination.

The absence of a property tax is a trump card for growth in the real estate sector. Globally, the emirate provides an average yield of 7 per cent, whereas New York, London, Singapore and Hong Kong stand at around 2.9, 2.7, 2.5 and 2.4 per cent, respectively.

Tech advancements set the city apart as well, such as RTA’s smart services offering 173 apps that residents can use to make their daily commute more convenient. Moreover, the Dubai Plan 2021 aims to make the emirate a smart and sustainable city, encouraging investors who seek to prioritise investments in the UAE due to its distinctive facilities that add value to their properties.

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Intent to deliver

Just like all other sectors, real estate faced the repercussions of COVID-19. However, 90 per cent of residential projects that were under construction before the pandemic are still proceeding, some faster than they were before, which is not the case in many other countries.

However, all of this is not enough for us to sell property here. We need to go beyond all of this. We have exhausted the reputation of Dubai in attracting investors. It is now time to foster innovation through competitiveness.

Needless to say, the prevailing situation has affected the business landscape, economic values, and investor behaviour. We need to factor all that in. History has shown that quality developments that are adapted to changing market conditions as well as meet and surpass investor aspirations will survive. And even thrive even through the worst market slumps.

Focus on health

The pandemic has brought a paradigm shift in consumer behaviour. People are cognizant of health and safety as well as of their proximity to services and institutions. Therefore, an increased number of developers aim to construct residential developments that are close to or include health and lifestyle centres.

Developers need to tailor their products to evolving market needs, such as by having investor-friendly properties in strategic locations with easy connectivity.

According to recent research regarding real estate trends, consumers are now demanding spacious apartments and villas more than ever before. Furthermore, a report by the International Property Institute states that COVID-19 made it important to have apartments with balconies as well as access to green features, sports facilities and walkable and biking areas.

Create that extra space

While this isn’t news to most, these are the domains where developers and other stakeholders need to innovate. Building - and entire masterplan - designs need to evolve as fast as investor wants. This is how developers stay competitive, and how Dubai will retain its status as a leading real estate investment destination on the global scale.

As businesses and employees continue to adopt flexible working arrangements, a proper, dedicated office space at home can add quality to life. People are now spending more time indoors, so spaciousness has become a key requirement.

Providing futuristic facilities will go a long way for developers. With plans to phase out traditional fuel vehicles by 2035, installing electric vehicle charging points, for example, would prove to be a big factor in appealing to a more environmentally conscious generation.

Dubai developers also need to reinforce their global standing through build quality – suppliers need to be carefully selected, contractors employed need to be capable and detail-oriented, and quality control needs to be enhanced.

Due to innovation brought about by developers in concepts such as virtual tours and an upgrade in e-selling tools, investors still maintain a relationship. Such agility to adapt to situations should also be projected in developments and construction work.

Developers have to actively participate in adding value to properties that would put them above par with global standards in terms of innovation and quality, instead of merely resting on the laurels of the UAE.

- Farhad Azizi is CEO of Azizi Developments.